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Doing ‘Russian-Germanness’ : performativity and co-ethnic belongings in the context of post-Soviet migration to Germany

Abstract : The thesis examines the performative acts through which ethno-national group constructions come to be perceived and experienced as stable social realities. Its main argument is that ethno-national group categories have a performative power: they actually do something, contributing to create and sustain the groups they apparently designate. Even though they are only constructions of the social world, they are experienced as seemingly essential things in the world. Based on this theoretical insight, the thesis proposes to study ethnic belonging as a performative doing. This doing is examined on the basis of the empirical case of co-ethnic migration from the former Soviet Union to Germany. Drawing on ethnographic field research, the thesis explores how co-ethnic belonging – or, more concretely ‘Russian-Germanness’ – is performatively accomplished through the interplay between discursive, material, and corporeal acts. It notably sheds light on the identification practices of administrative agents, ethno-political entrepreneurs, migrants, material objects, and devices that collectively participate in this doing. Through the reiterative effort of coherence-making and re-adjustment of these heterogeneous actors and entities, co-ethnic group identities crystallize into a seemingly natural being. At the same time, the analysis reveals that this being is never fully accomplished, it necessarily remains incomplete and thus open to re-articulation. The thesis hence proposes an analytical framework allowing to explore the permanent, unresolved tension between de-stabilization and re-stabilization of ethnic group constructions in a context of transnational migration.
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Submitted on : Thursday, September 8, 2022 - 11:49:08 AM
Last modification on : Friday, September 9, 2022 - 3:44:25 AM


  • HAL Id : tel-03772465, version 1



Gesine Wallem. Doing ‘Russian-Germanness’ : performativity and co-ethnic belongings in the context of post-Soviet migration to Germany. Political science. Institut d'études politiques de Paris - Sciences Po, 2020. English. ⟨NNT : 2020IEPP0036⟩. ⟨tel-03772465⟩



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